Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Emma Watson – Belle
Dan Stevens – The Beast
Luke Evans – Gaston
Kevin Kline – Maurice
Josh Gad – LeFou
Ewan McGregor – Lumière (candelabra)
Emma Thompsson – Mrs. Potts (teapot)
Stanley Tucci – Maestro Casenza (harpsichord)
Ian McKellen – Cogsworth (mantel clock)
Alright, this one. One of the most anticipated Disney flicks since.. well. Any of them really, Frozen probably.
Here we have Hermione Granger in a long yellow dress. To many other critics – Emma Watson in one of her most captivating roles yet. I personally, did not feel captivated and instead spent 80% of this movie debating if I had eaten part of the wrapper of my Subway footlong (the onion seemed extremely chewy..).
What can I say, this movie is very colourful but I found it not overly exciting. It’s certainly one of the least captivating things I’ve seen in a while.
Most of us know how the story goes and have seen the original Beauty and the Beast, so this movie is basically a recycled copy of it – only with heightened animation. On that front I cannot fault the producers at all. Some of Beauty and the Beast contains very well-done graphics, Lumière and Cogsworth for example. Two of the most recognised characters from the story are brought to life nicely with great clarity and glossy colour. The other characters bounce into the picture nicely too; Thompson taking charge and putting her natural talent to good use as Mrs. Potts. I knew she was part of the cast, but I didn’t know who she was in the movie she was that distinctive as the motherly teapot character. Top marks for her for excellent characterisation during her voiceover work.
Stevens as the Beast is very good, effective. But it’s his animation which shines the most; some nice work has gone into the Beast’s features and it makes a very convincing watch. Although this movie isn’t one of the greatest things I’ve seen recently I just cannot deny the visuals are fantastic. They are everything you want and expect from this movie, the dinner party especially which explodes in a cascade of spectacular colours and characters. This scene blended into such a flurry of psychadelic excitement that I decided I had swallowed a bit of my Subway wrapper – and that it contained an illegal drug. In all seriousness though, a lot of work went into the musical parts of Beauty and the Beast. And yes, Watson sings. But whether she is good at vocalising or not I am still undecided on; she opens the movie by exiting her cozy cottage and coasting through the garden whilst singing her opening line..
..she’s okay, but she’s no Katherine Jenkins. I could hear bits of Watson’s naturally pretentious voice slipping through with each note; that flared-nostrilled, raised jaw, throaty gasp-like resonance she seems to omit regularly. I have no doubt fans of the actress will be 100% concentrated on the screen in excited awe as they consume her singing debut, and that they’ll lap it up too. From a completely neutral point of view however, I have to say Watson is nowhere near as musical as she should be and comes across more of a prime example of one of those actor / actresses who have hardly sung a note in his or her life, are fully aware of this, but get up to belt out what they can anyway (a-hem, Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games).
For the love of god – take the kids to see Beauty and the Beast. Through their eyes it’s perfect, and I have absolutely no doubt they’ll have a wail of a time. As Disney movies go, this one nails every element:
Swirling animation bursting with vibrant colours and shapes. An excellent use of CGI and other effects ensure a dazzling rush of eye candy for kids.
A cast ensemble who perform so perfectly in synch with each other (more towards the beginning of the movie) you’d think you were at a pantomime.
A vast array of sumptuous costume: flowing silk dresses, sparkling jewels, shirts and ruffles, canes, swords, tatty pauper attire, even big saddles and buckles for the more horse-like member of cast.
Magic: witches casting spells, random household objects walking around and dancing, all laiden with a fairytale backing but
Character dynamics: the good people versus the bad people, etc. There is a clear level of two sides like in any fairytale, ensuring the viewer gets to decide who holds the moral high ground.
This was the only thing to go wrong, very wrong. The man brings a character so irritatingly camp, that it was almost nauseating to watch. As LeFou, he spends 90% of his screen time prancing around Gaston in a way which screams, “I want you inside me”. It’s bloody revolting. There are some movies where one of the popular characters is portrayed in a different light, altered slightly to make him or her a bit better – and it works. But not here. Gad’s queer foolery used for LeFou was just inappropriate, and I would opt to keep the kids away from his scenes.
Excellent for the little ones.
Just not this big one. But fans of Disney should find Beauty and the Beast a thrill, it does contain all the ingredients of a fantasy tale they could want. And it’s extremely colourful – this being one of its striking elements. As mentioned above, definitely introduce it to the kids. It’s right up their street as a re-vamp – if recycled – telling of the classic story.